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Minute Maid Park will undergo significant renovations this offseason, including the installation of a 54-by-124 feet video board that will be the second-largest in Major League Baseball, smaller than only the one in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.
Pam Gardner, the Astros’ president of business operations, went before the Harris-Country Houston Sports Authority on Thursday morning and shared news of the renovations. The Astros, who lease the ballpark from the Sports Authority, will pony up all of the estimated $10-to-12 million price tag.”It’s been 11 years since it opened, so it’s time,” Gardner said.
The new video board, which will be HD, will be above right field where the current scoreboard sits. The current video board high above center field will become dormant, and the Astros will add a second video board in left field that will be about the size of the current video board in center.
“That’s so people on the bullpen side can look up and see the video board, which they haven’t been able to do before,” Gardner said.
The Astros had been exploring the idea of upgrading their scoreboard for a few years, and a member of the club’s ballpark entertainment department was in Cincinnati last week to check out the video board at Great American Ball Park.
In addition, Minute Maid Park will have 1,000 feet of ribbon board stretching from foul pole to foul pole, replacing the currently 100 feet of ribbon board on each side of the ballpark. Also, the writing press box, which currently sits at the top of the dugout boxes, will be moved up one level to be adjacent to the broadcast press area.
The area behind home plate that currently houses the writing press box will be transformed into an area for premium season-ticket holders, allowing the Astros to generate more revenue.
“I guess I’d call it a hip club area,” Gardner said.
Gardner said the Astros are using money from their asset renewal and replacement fund, which they make yearly payments into as part of their rent. She said the renovations will begin within the next month and will be ready for Opening Day next year.